Winter, cold weather, the feeling of upcoming snow and me sitting in a coffee shop, watching people outside the window. My writing is uninspired today, the Mexican novel I am working on, is kind of frozen- I have no ideas and I lost the flow.
Usually black coffee helps but today I am simply freezing.
I notice a girl outside, she is there waiting for someone apparently but I can’t really guess who may be, a friend? A lover?.
She looks really cute, asian origin, smiling in this cold afternoon: no one appears but there she remains, resilient and strong.
May I offer her a coffee? Is it appropriate?
And …she suddenly looks at me and smile. She enters the coffee shop and sit in front of me, I order a cappuccino for her and a coffee for me” who are you girl? Tell me your story please – don’t waste time waiting on the street, is this person worth?”
‘ Sir, sir? Do you wish anything else to drink? Apologize I need to ask you to pay I will shortly finish my turn” I am back to myself, my Asian girl disappeared, I sit alone again with the notes for my novel.
The two paintings are studio works, oil on canvas 80x60cm and 60x80cm are twins so to say. I like the idea to observe the world from a window: there is a kind of duplication of the reality inside/outside
I hope you like both, the blue interior is not available.
“I arrived just yesterday, long trip, full bags heavy heart.
Here life just run slower, the time is gentle with us, days are extended and I can even walk late afternoon just letting my mind free to imagine.
I could spend my entire life here, listening to the waves, not only one week or two…why not always?
Rent a simple room somewhere where I can hear the sea and watch its endless movement
Breath this salty fresh air and simply be calm.”
As much as I love the sea and ocean, it’s rarely subject if my paintings. I find difficult to tell it’s story without being obvious. The reference I used for this work is an exception, I was in Ischia around with my camera in the evening and my subject were those rusty boats In one shot I realized there was hidden a scene, two men chatting at the ferry boat’s dock.
I loved the situation, so usual for a place at seaside, so connected with the moment… and while I was busy rendering people and boats, I painted the sea.
“…and every time I walk across this street, I feel like a tourist. I have been here so many times, day and night, alone and with friends for a drink but to be here now, early afternoon with my brand new dress it feels like holiday.
It was a spontaneous escape from the office, a late lunch break and I see this wonderful green dress in a shop – a bit old fashioned maybe? Well I don’t care, I simply love it because it has the taste of spring. I bought it and had it on immediately. My usual black uniform jacket… I will keep it for a rainy afternoon: today it must be life, it must be green!”
It is Milan again, to be precise Brera area, a very lively one with the art academy, fancy shops, bars and restaurants: its a very busy part of the city streets are narrow and buildings quite old fashioned. There is movement in the scene, the sunshine my home country has. It is pure energy and a symbol of simple enjoyment of the moment.
Finally it’s, evening, a long working week it’s over, thanks God it’s Friday
“Do you have plan for this weekend ?
No just relaxing, why?
Oh well I am gathering some friends for dinner… something easy, why don’t you join us?
Mmmm, well yes, indeed I could…
Oh perfect! Lovely to have you and if I remember you did such a great tiramisu last time…would you mind to repeat that masterpiece?
Ahhhh ok yes, sure I can prepare it, if you wish.
That would be fantaaaastic!
Just to mention: 20 people are invited maybe not everyone join but some dessert left over is never an issue, right? Thank you so much for your offer, see you then!”
Probably because I have been so many times with too many bags around, I could identify well with the girl in the painting. It`s a Munich subject and a nocturne which has its appeal: everything is beautiful at night with the colored lights, even a rainy day gives the opportunity to a common crossroad to shine.
‘ I saw you, there is no doubt. You just passed by without noticing me, deep in your thoughts as I remember you used to, sometimes really lost in another dimension, sometimes just on purpose to tease me.
When I turned back, the street was busy, lights of the restaurants, no sign of you… dissolving presence.Maybe it’s another of your jokes, hiding, waiting for me in a secret place I must discover.
Maybe… I am simply loosing my mind – I shouldn’t look back, you are somewhere else in my future: at the end of my story we will be together again”
I can’t say where the text comes from, this is a mystery for me even if I write them and I am the painter. There is always a time between one and another a freedom exercise, a way not to influence myself much.
The reference is a shot very spontaneous, while I was walking to the dance class: I was taken by the light, that’s for sure one of my obsession nevertheless it happens sometimes I see a subject and I simply fall in love with it. Beside the window shops lights and the juicy green, the girl turning suddenly, her move seems like a pose to me, a slow motion, change of direction, like it would be dance.Me sitting into an imaginary audience took the freedom to try to capture it on a canvas.
It’s hot, Milano turns into a tropical city during summertime. Fog and cold are just memories, African heat and mosquitoes the reality.It’s midday sticky and empty streets…nobody would go out right now without a good reason, but I have one.Power walk modus, I need to reach the darsena as fast as I can.
Andrea will be waiting for me already, I didn’t expect her – she just texted ‘here I am, I want to see you. I don’t even know if I really want to meet her after that quarrel but she made it until here. We will have a coffee in this mezzogiorno di fuoco.
I love to paint evening and cosy light: this work dedicated to Milano was a bit a challenge, full sunshine in all its brutality. The city can be really hot in summer, you can look for shades, less physical action or air conditioning.This work is oli painting on canvas 60×80 cm. More will follow about Milano and Italy, I have memories and stories to tell.
“Good Morning, a black coffee please, scrambled eggs and brown toast”
Would you like some jam and a Kipferl ? They are very good madam, I recommend them
No thank you,
Quite a pity, we have great cakes too, maybe a small slice just to start the day with sweetness?
No thank you.
Well, your choice, but let me tell you miss an opportunity.
Missing opportunities is my specialty…
I see, enjoy Madam “
This dialogue would be a very uncommon one in a Wiener cafe house: usually waiters are not very talkative, not even for selling’s sake- a relatively measured friendliness must be part of the job education.
The painting is inspired by a coffeehouse in Vienna: I love this terribly old fashioned furniture and the slightly decadent atmosphere. Early morning, when all is quiet, those places are meditative: you get a good coffee, people read newspaper, the time extends and all flows with its own rhythm.
In this view the light and the reflections were particularly appealing to me:the way the sunshine enters through the windows and reflects on the marble surface of the tables and the warmth coming from the crystal chandeliers fill the room with a mixture of hope and memories.
“ I absolved my morning jogging round and on my way home,I nearly forgot it’s flee market day, I will have a short look.
How it can be so crowded here,… old stuff, granny stile robes, nothing practical… but, wait, look those plates with a thin golden profile. They are not even so ugly but for the dishwasher are not an option. So, let’s move on, I need a shower and a good coffee… but hey! Hold on, I don’t believe it! it can’t be true, look at what that girl has found…I need to watch it closer, if it is what I THINK…It must be MINE“
I like the sense of life in market place’s scenes, the contrasts and the variety they offer. From a painting point of view, it is just fun to play with different surfaces, objects and people. The main challenge is to focus on a story, because the reality has so many suggestions that from one shot you could create many paintings.
For this one I used a photo reference but to focus I had to pick up in an ink sketch a some interesting characters: the sporty lady there by chance, the deep into matters one and of the back what I called Mrs Magoo which I felt in love with. Diverse people, as much as flee market objects, captured at once, looking for their own personal treasure … I liked it so I took a 60×80 cm canvas and started to work.
“ I double check the address and I am right, I didn’t expect to find this small house surrounded by other buildings. The appearance is quite modest and the garden surrounding it is wild and green like a Bavarian jungle. I have the task to get this ground, of course as cheap as I can – it looks like an easy job…we can build more apartments there, I will ring the bell…“
An old lady opened the door, deaf and suspiciously looking at the real estate agent…
‘ Her car is there so she must be at work, I can wait a little… I know we don’t have a date and I am not even sure she will be happy to see me here around but I must try it. She is so beautiful, I can’t wait days in the hope to meet her again at the coffee shop where we hada chat last week… why I didn’t ask her phone number?….I am such an idiot … now here I look like a stalker’. The Metropol Gar age door opened suddenly, there she was.’
I painted both scenes in the last weeks, they are spontaneous works and have been painted outside on the spot, enplain air, like the impressionists used to do. This way of working requires speed and focus in the execution and the small format forces to take quite bold decisions on the subject and composition.
The old house is entirely painted with pallet knives for the simple reason I forgot the brush’s case at home that day, nevertheless I like how it turned out. The snapshots I decided to depict were impressing me for the light and the simplicity – I feel they are close to ‘real life’ with some imperfections and stories to tell.
Saturday morning, weekly market day, it’s sunny and warm, all are out for business.
At the Würstelstand:
„ ehhh man, you here too…come on sit here, yeah man, no I am waiting for nobody, you know, people are crazy, before all closed now, they come to the shop all at once and then the mask, can u breath with that on the nose? No right? Ahahah! so you put it there instead? Ah that’s it.
-I need a beer, you too right? Let me tell you really there is no other way to survive this damned world, -you made all right man, really, I mean it ALLRIGHT but me I am the last fool …you see…but yesterday, you must see it, I found a rarity, let’s have another beer and I tell you“…
Something similar… so I imagine a possible discussion, with no real purpose than the excuse to have a drink.
As many of the latest photo reference on which I am working on, the city is Vienna. In his case it is not really important the specific place: the spontaneity of the characters and their gestures, a true moment and genuine subject, that’s what this work is about.
When I take photo references for painting, I let the camera free to scan the environment. The photos are usually not particularly good, I just shot randomly like I did for this reference at the marketplace not looking much at what is in the picture.
To zoom in and find stories is the fun part that follows later, the image is just an help to retain relevant details of life which serves my purpose to depict the reality with its imperfections and beauty.
Here I loved the light pattern, the triangles in the composition and the loose attitude of the men at the stand: a moment worth to be captured.
You walk home, the same way as every day in a cold winter evening. Nobody waits for you beside Micky, your cat waiting for his dinner. It is different from what you imagined or not?
Tokyo, Hong Kong, London and now here, you have not really expected more company, the job is less thrilling than years ago and your watches collection reminds you that time pass by.
Smoke from your cigarette and you walk home.”
While I paint, I tell myself stories and I begin when I decide for a subject.
It’s very often a spontaneous decision, immediate, like taking a instant picture or the opposite, growing day by day , slowly, passing by always the same spot.
In this case it was a slow approach, the flair of this shop, the light in the night with the warmth of the window: smoking as comfort for the soul, a meditative hug a relaxing moment where you stop the hectic of the day and start thinking.
I never smoked and I can’t tell if my interpretation is right: but the sketch convinced me, the square composition simple and balanced with a jazzy mood. The enlightened red of the label, you can’t help falling in love with it while painting.
I changed a bit the drawing in the painting, introducing a little perspective instead of a side view; it shows a bit better the dynamic of the walking man, the way he comes back. From-where we don’t know, to where, neither.
A new start for my blog with stories, ideas, inspirations and of course paintings
Behind every painting there is a short story and in most of the cases all happens by chance. I won’t tell how I came to the reference used for this work, it is open to your imagination as it has been for mine.
I don’t know those teenagers and the photo reference is surely not in perfect quality but for me it was impressive: the girls here are just incredibly strong. Top of the known world, over the roofs of a city like models on a fashion shooting.
Be over all, with the most loved oversized yellow sweater, the color is the power and it is what makes it happen – also in the painting it dominates.
I started with a small oil sketch on carton paper just to get a bit closer to them: the attitude – how do those little women stands there? Self confidence in double pack, concentrated like a lemon juice, sweet bitter but fresh. At this stage it’s easy, the technique is crispy, the focus goes to the essence.
Then the real painting challenge comes, which at this point was not possible to avoid for me…I wanted them in a proper size on canvas (50x70cm) and I
zoomed in on the portrait, with the goal to keep it simple ( how difficult that is …)
The portrait is oil on linen canvas realized a la prima: I am quite satisfied by the limited color palette, i keep deeply loving indigo blue and cad lemon yellow and they served the purpose.
Finally here they are my little cool and cute models: spotlights and catwalk are ready and they will make it, enchanting the world. They believe the can and so do I.
The last weekend I had the luck to participate to ArtMuc with some of my oil paintings. The experience has been intense and I feel some echos even with a week distance. Hard were the rules, Covid related, masks, longer opening but the effort was rewarded by many people visiting and a great exchange between artists.
Many are asking me now… how was it? So I decided to share some impressions from those days
We had super busy days and rush hours but also some minutes for sketching – a very subjective view on the event: artists waiting, people interested in art diving into it and others focused on their mobile
I am thankful to all the people that came and to whom I chatted with, for the comments and the feedbacks received and to all the artists I met there – amazing people. The organization is adding the possibility to virtually visit the show, a good opportunity to get a flavor of it if you missed it
Following the theme of the hat shop, a second work inspired to a lovely shop in Munich and to my exceptional friend that model for me. Somehow it’s not the season to paint in studio but given the current situation and the indication to stay home , I am coming back to all the photo references even if older ones.
It’s super interesting to see which elements are differently capturing my attention, completely new stories come out from the same source. Here I liked the gesture to look for the matching element in the hat atelier shop.
An amazing art show, the last one I visited just before the pandemic infection blocked all the soul food activities… the French Gobelins shown in Munich. Amazing tribute to art and themselves unique works. The show was so intense and the colors stunning that I decided to continue the tribute chain … painting the Gobelin that honors artists ( Picasso here)
I close the circle painting-textile-painting being quite sure nobody will continue it based on my work 😂
Beside that I loved to see how the visitors look as part of a wider artwork, all of them creating a composition in harmony with colors and textil – a deeper participation ,than everyone was maybe not aware of.
This painting is inspired and dedicated to my friends and it makes sense to dedicate it today to all the women. The spontaneous shots I took some time ago and just now I am reworking them in a bigger format ( 60x60 cm) after some little and more abstract works. My friends will pardon me for having modified here and there our memories, the spirit of complicity between us and the fun in a wonderful hat shop we had remains the same. Thank you girls for being my models 🤗
My last painting is dedicated to Milano, the city where I come form.
The subject comes from a spontaneous random shot downtown – I loved the contrast between the grey and cold buildings against the sun reflecting on a glass building. By chance a nun passed but and she was for me the perfect character there. She has a difficult mission but she keeps moving on, one step after the other… regardless of the grey world, the cold, the age.
The perseverance and the ability to continue on a path when itˋs not easy and the outcome is uncertain.
It’s really not about religion but about attitude.
The night and the cafes …and most of all the lights which are the reason for which I wanted to paint this subject.
As it was a cold and rainy evening I had no other chance than taking a picture as reference and it took me a while even to do so.
I noticed that corner of Vienna already last year and as it happens, the idea to paint it was kept in my mind for a long time. Finally I was there shortly again and the occasion came to take some photos to be used as reference- the winter mood and the waters on the street was even better that what I had in my imagination and i really enjoyed to paint the contrasts.
A nocturne from Munich, a painting I wanted to try since a long time …I love the city when it’s calm and the nights gives beauty to every ordinary place. The shiny lights of the bars and restaurants design a path that can be followed until the end of the imaginary world.
Who remains outside has time for thinking – duties and expectations are over.
It is since a while I was planning to continue painting some interiors, this subject has many aspects that I found interesting and funny to paint : the light – the morning sunshine entering the room creating a lot of reflections and a path for the eyes… the mirror that reveal part of reality usually not visible to the observer…and the cleaning lady. She prepares the table for the day, cleaning dust and dirty – a kind of white fee that with a simple work bring the world to shine.
I am fascinated by those usual scene so normal and so beautiful. I tried to paint loose and light not” to disturb her” in her work.
Lately I am doing some experiments around animals to understand how to depict them at best. Somehow it seems to be that very classic oil portrait are a kind of too rigid medium to depict them.
Here a test with watercolor and white chalk with a charming red cat (with indeed only three legs ) oft visiting the atelier just for the company… I love his character , the pirate spirit’, a beautiful survivor – probably protagonist of a fairy tale still to be written.
I enjoyed the technique experiment, it could be that more will follow.
Probably the last painting for 2019, inspired by a charming coffee shop in Vienna the Westend Cafe. I particularly enjoyed painting this subject from a random photo took last time I was in the city…the painting is freely inspired by the mood of a lazy wake up hours – there is a kind of promise in the morning hours when the day is open and in principle everything is still possible to happen…
The empty table is the expectations for something new to happen, the timeless place and people in the scene are witnessing the moment.
Some weeks ago this little painting was shown in a group exhibition in Milan – theme was love and the work was done for this purpose.
Frankly speaking i could not imagine a romantic love picture therefore I went back to my memories and found and old photo which depicts strong friendships feelings with an impossible tight hug and smiling eyes
That is love for sure, without compromise and expectation – just lived in that moment of life where all is possible.
One of the last plein air painting of this season for me, this small work was created on a Sunday morning in Munich. People living in that area use to sit outside the cafes as soon as the sun in shining and enjoy a slow brunch.
Mr ben is also one of my favorite place for coffee, they know how to make a good espresso and this is crucial for my Italian soul… this is my tribute to my weekend cappuccino
I love to paint white subjects and simple buildings. This painting is a small plein air study (24×30 cm) oil on panel that I made last Sunday. The day was bright and the building which has a bit of uncommon in the architecture was nearly shining im the sun. Rendering the light in an appropriate way and the subtile color variations on the white wall is a delicate pleasure as well as discovering the beauty in an everyday situation and place.
I am deeply linked to the town where I took the inspiration for this painting – this is a studio one, bigger dimension 50x70cm , oil on canvas. For various reasons I worked with a lot of interruptions, which is usually not my approach. I am happy to have kept the right atmosphere and in my eyes, to have captured a bit of the beauty hidden in an extremely normal town in Milan hinterland.
This small painting is one of the series created the first week of August in Munich during a fantastic painting workshop one week long.
For my usual rhythm to have an entire week for painting is a luxury and to be outside every day with the ambition to find a good spot and create an interesting painting is just a great pleasure.
This picture was “captured” in a sunny afternoon, the city not so busy already in summertime modus, a couple sitting at a Café, lazy sunshine…
Painting outside consists all in the ability to capture the atmosphere, it goes all very fast and it has to be this way: the light changes, the people sitting leave the table, doors can be opened and closed… It forces me to be spontaneous, to memorize people gestures which I like and I want in my painting – rarely they stay so long to be model.
But the best of all are the colors you see, this is the real reason for me to be such in love with plein air , so many suggestions comes from the place and the light, it can be replaced by anything else.
Oil on panel 30×30 – Munich workshop with Stefan Nuetzel organized by Akthof
Hot and sunny was the day in the city it was not so easy to find the right spot to place the easel and paint im shade.
The summer feeling in a warm city, I looked for some view representative of this moment. I found those yellow umbrellas on a building deck, a terrace too hot to be populated at that time of the day – up to the sky in competition with the sunshine.
Plein air 25x30cm painted with friends, a very nice memory (this painting will not be sold for any price).
From an Italian perspective (mine) the nord German beach landscape is really peculiar…even in high season all is relatively calm, the sun is not so hot, colors are light and fresh like the air of the Baltic sea…
It is even possible painting en plein air there during the day with few curious people only so I took the chance for a small 30x30cm oil painting
Maybe because it’s home, maybe because it’s a slightly different subject, but i really enjoy to depict those urban landscapes.
The source of inspiration is Italy where it is not uncommon to find such dismissed small factories. In their “aged” status they fascinate me, broken windows shine more to my eyes and being my home town a lot of memories are liked to those views.
The traffic light, more visible as a shade, is obliquely standing on the sidewalk with limited changed to be repaired in a near future “he” doesn’t care and continues to rule on the street
Every sign of past battle won, is empowering its authority …
A fairly small plein air painting, created some weeks ago in a quiet Sunday afternoon in Munich (Amalienpassage). I am lately very much attracted by the silent beauty that can be found in usual places. Looking for a convenient spot to set my easel, those two geishas posters and the red of the ahorn 🍁 looked so perfect, i just stopped and painted the harmony I felt in that moment.
The not so intense sunshine and the gray tones fascinated me.
Beauty is oft so close….to me a comforting certainty
(Oil on panel 24x30cm – posters are advertising a Sushi restaurant, the red tree is possibly not related)
Sometimes It happens, I believe that a painting is done and after looking at it on the wall I discover that more is required…the time finishes it showing me what to do 😊
Every time I am in Vienna, I sneak in this place just to smell the scent of the cakes and enjoy a good coffee. It is for sure a touristic place but i love this Konditorei where you can see those “sweet artists” working decorating cakes and every kind of wonderful creations. Especially the calm atmosphere, the precision and concentration of this gesture captured my attention – I find them simply beautiful.